Sea kayaking and the eskimo roll – if you can’t eskimo roll a seakayak, try solo and paired re-entry rescues
The You Tube video producer Touring Kayaks, based in Maine (US coastal New England) provides a serie of insights, via video, of the various to deploy an inflatable paddle float and bow or Eskimo seakayakrescue, most notably during a re entry and roll. You’ll also see the standard T rescue.
Using a paddle float to learn to roll a sea kayak is pretty handy. The paddle float adds to your paddle a goodly amount of leverage, enough to render irrelevant your so-far frustrating inability to roll. There’s almost no need to worry about the hip snap, lifting your head last, or whether you have an offside or a good side.
It’s almost magic. You inflate the paddle float, attach it to the end of the paddle blade as you normally would for a self-rescue, take a breath, wedge your fanny into the cockpit, and use the leverage of the paddle float to roll the kayak.
The other advantage of the paddle float re-entry and roll is that you don’t have to deal with the tricky balancing act standard paddle float self rescues require. You dispatch with all the time and effort it takes to balance with one ankle on the paddle shaft. You dispatch with the crux of the move — getting your butt into the cockpit without capsizing your sea kayak all over again. You can complete a self-rescue in one quarter the time it takes with a standard paddle float self rescue.
Sea kayaking enthusiasts just starting out and still learning to roll will find the video worth watching for all of its variations. Take the time to watch the entire and you’ll find the time well spent.
There are a couple of points to keep in mind when using the paddle float to learn how to roll. One is to inflate the paddle float fully, at first, to maximize the leverage it provides. Then, as you gain confidence in your ability to roll with the paddle float, inflate the float with decreasing amounts of air, to reduce the leverage it provides. As you reduce the amount of air in the float, you rely less on the float, more on proper form.
Second, keep in mind that the re-entry and roll with a paddle float still leaves you with a problem to sort out: your sea kayak’s cockpit will be filled with water, and considerably less stable than it would be if you were able to roll you sea kayak without a wet exit. Thus keep in mind that the re-entry and roll with a paddle float is not your best choice in rough seas. In that setting, once you’ve made the effort to wet-exit, better to rely on the aid of a second paddler for a T or H rescue.